With the Lib Dem leadership contest into the last couple of weeks, and with ballot papers now sitting with the Lib Dem voters, how are the two candidates shaping up?
Rather than look at the candidates websites, their promises and “liberal vision” (yes they both have one), now seems a good time to see who is endorsing them. Having big grand ideas is all well and good – but what also counts in a leadership race is the respect that colleagues have for prospective leaders. Those working alongside Norman and Tim will have a much better working knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses than the average voter can ever hope to determine by a search of their websites or tv clips of the odd hustings.
Besides, (being totally honest) I am just darned curious to see how it is stacking up.
Getting the comprehensive list was not easy. Norman’s and Tim’s websites do a pretty good job of listing their supporters – but both list their supporters in a bit of a randomised way. And Wiki, whilst pretty good, seems to have a few missed off the list.
Having completed the task as best I could, I thought I would share, in case (a) anyone else is interested and (b) anyone can correct any of the entries.
FORMER MPs declaring for either Norman or Tim.
Former MPs = recent MPs (those who stood in 2015)
|Norman Lamb||Tim Farron|
|Ming Campbell||Simon Hughes|
|Ed Davey||Alan Beith|
|Stephen Williams||Duncan Hames|
|Don Foster||John Leech|
|Norman Baker||Greg Mulholland|
|Tom Brake||John Pugh|
|Paul Burstow||Sarah Teather|
|Bob Russell||Mark Williams|
|David Laws||Jo Swinson|
Interesting to note that Norman’s list is substantially longer, though Tim has three of the six current MPs. Norman has one. Nick Clegg and Alistair Carmichael appear not to have declared for either.
There is also a long list of notable ex-MPs (including Danny Alexander, Vince Cable,and Jeremy Browne) who appear to have not indicated a preference either way.
Sandra Gidley and Julia Goldsworthy (MPs from further back) have also declared for Norman.
LORDS DECLARING FOR NORMAN AND TIM
|Norman Lamb||Tim Farron|
|Paddy Ashdown||David Steel|
|Shirley Williams||Meral Hussein-Ece|
|Tim Razzell||Diana Maddock|
|Kate Parminter||Brian Paddick|
|Judith Jolly||Ros Scott|
|Joan Walmsley||Floella Benjamin|
|Liz Barker||Alexander Charles Carlile|
|Lindsay Northover||Brian Cotter|
|Dee Doocey||Kenneth Macdonald|
|Alison Suttie||Monroe Palmer|
|Paul Sciven||James Palumbo|
|Sue Garden||Paul Strasburger|
|Jane Bonham Carter||Matthew Taylor|
Once again it is Norman that scoops up not only more of the Lords, but a much more impressive list. Having Shirley Williams and Paddy Ashdown on your side must be pretty useful! So useful in fact that I wondered at first why Norman does not seem to have featured Paddy in any of his literature.
The answer seems to be that ballot papers (with the latest literature from both candidates) went out on 24th June. It appears that Paddy Ashdown only declared his support for Norman (via twitter to his 19,000 followers) on that day (24th June).
If this is the case, Norman must be spitting feathers that he could not get that all-important endorsement into the leaflet accompanying the ballot paper. Will that have cost Norman the leadership?
There are some other notable names on the list declaring for one or other candidate. Sarah Ludford, Andrew Duff (ex MEPs) support Norman. Fiona Hall (ex MEP) and Catherine Bearder (Lib Dems only current MEP) break for Tim. Also worthy of note is Willie Rennie (Leader of the Scottish Lib Dems) declaration for Tim.
The prize for best supporter(s) has to go to Norman however. No. Not Shirley or Paddy. Norman has captured some heavy weight support from outside of politics. Frank Bruno has clearly been knocked out by Norman’s work on mental health and N-Dubz star “Dappy” has taken to twitter to show his support for Norman too. With some 875,000 followers on twitter, Dappy’s support has got go someway to getting the vote out (assuming at least some of his followers are Lib Dems of course !). If nothing else it shows that Norman has the ability to excite people from outside of politics to get involved- no bad thing for a party that is going to struggle to get its voice heard on traditional news media in the coming years.
The bookies odds have Tim Farron as the clear favourite to become the next leader of the Lib Dems. But as we have seen in previous Lib Dem leadership elections, the betting market is pretty illiquid. It doesn’t take much cash to skew the odds in favour of one or other candidate, intentionally or not, out of all recognition. And it is worth noting that traditionally the activists have always made more noise during leadership elections – putting their poster boy into the lead on the betting markets – but it is the centrist candidate that the wider membership end up voting for.
Of course, this election may be different. The “Lib Dem membership surge” in recent weeks, may be comprised primarily of the disillusioned (who quit when the liberals went into power with the Conservatives) coming home. But that is mere speculation and even if partially true, not all will be of the left-leaning variety. And not all of those will vote for the sometimes gaff-prone Tim. And let’s not forget those who stuck with the Lib Dems throughout the past five years. Everyone agrees that Norman had a pretty good time of it in Government, winning respect from fellow politicians of all colours.
Given Norman’s impressive supporters list (including the somewhat late arrival of Paddy Ashdown), in a two horse race, I wonder whether the value bet is Norman. Long odds of course, but worth a tenner perhaps?
[Please do let me know, via the comments section, of any additions/omissions/errors in the above lists and I will correct.]Tags: betting, Dappy, Frank Bruno, Lib Dem Leadership 2015, Norman Lamb, Paddy Ashdown, Tim Farron